Concert Reviews: January 2015

It’s been a busy and exciting start to 2015 for the LPO: a continuation of the Rachmaninoff: Inside Out series with a concert performance of The Miserly Knight, a commission by Magnus Lindberg, the Orchestra’s new Composer in Residence. Earning particular plaudits from critics and audience members alike was Verdi’s Requiem performed with the London Philharmonic Choir, joined by the 150-year-old eminent Spanish choir, Orfeón Pamplonés.

Read on to find out what the critics had to say ...

Saturday 17 January, Brighton Dome

Humperdink Prelude, Hansel and Gretel
Chopin Piano Concerto No. 2
Dvořák Symphony No. 8

Rory MacDonald conductor | Lambis Vassiliadis piano

‘With such a precise and practiced orchestra such as the London Philharmonic, expertly headed by leader Pieter Schoeman together with an obviously ebullient Rory MacDonald on the box, this was a glorious showpiece of the concert. Blistering applause for the ensemble concluded a hugely enjoyable and immersive evening at the Brighton Dome, and continues a very successful season for the London Philharmonic Orchestra.’
Andrew Collins, The News 23 January 2015  

‘Overall, this was a strong and arresting performance, receiving a deservedly warm reception from the Brighton audience.’
Nick Boston Bachtrack 19 January 2015 (3 stars)

Read the concert programme online here

Wednesday 21 January, Royal Festival Hall 

Wagner Das Rheingold (excerpts, semi-staged)
Rachmaninoff The Miserly Knight (semi-staged)

Vladimir Jurowski conductor
See Programme for full cast list

‘[The] LPO, boasting six harps and ten anvil bashers, was the star turn, shining a light into the Rhine’s depth with molecular clarity and taking Valhalla by storm for the entry of the gods  ...  [The Miserly Knight] was played and conducted with total immersion in its dark orchestration and extravagant melodious development.’
Peter Reed, Classical Source, 22 January 2015

‘The sound Jurowski coaxed from the orchestra ...  was exquisite. ... What [The Miserly Knight] lacks in conventional drama, more than makes up in a superabundant orchestral character, which Jurowski once again unveiled in rainbow vividness.'
Matthew Right, The Arts Desk, 22 January 2015

Saturday 24 January, Royal Festival Hall

Stravinsky Requiem Canticles
Verdi Requiem

Vladimir Jurowski conductor
Jane Irwin soprano (replaced Maija Kovalevska)
Ildikó Komlosi mezzo soprano
Dmitry Popov
Nikolay Didenko bass
London Philharmonic Choir
Orfeón Pamplonés

Broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, available on iPlayer until 24 February

'Jurowski drew from the musicians’ precise synchronisation for the Stravinsky, and realised Verdi’s quasi-operatic drama without ever indulging in mere theatricality.' 
George Hall, The Guardian, 27 January 2015

'... outstanding choral singing and orchestral playing [with] the splendid Orfeón Pamplonés [and] powerful singing of the London Philharmonic Choir. And rhythmic definition was razor-sharp, impetus highly charged, under Jurowski’s baton. [...] Each tiny ritualistic section [of Stravinsky’s Requiem Canticles] was minutely sculpted by Jurowski into pungent fragments of sound and eloquent silence.'
Hilary Finch The Times 26 January 2015 [available to subscribers]

‘Rather than let the [Verdi Requiem’s] Sanctus bound off like a race-horse, Jurowski settled on a slightly more relaxed speed that gave it substance and meaning, and the same approach to the big Libera me fugue paid off handsomely in terms of weight and clarity. This was very much an opera-conductor’s interpretation. [...]
Peter Reed, Classical Source, 25 January 2015

Read the concert programme online here

Wednesday 28 January, Royal Festival Hall

Debussy Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune
Magnus Lindberg Accused: three interrogations for soprano and orchestra (world premiere)
Wagner Prelude to Act 1, Tristan und Isolde (with original ending)
Scriabin The Poem of Ecstasy

Vladimir Jurowski conductor
Barbara Hannigan soprano

'Lindberg writes music that is unashamedly rich, big, and even show-offy; no wonder that he’s in huge international demand ... 'Vladimir Jurowski conducted the piece skilfully and crafted a contrastingly lush raft of music to surround the Lindberg'
Neil Fisher, The Times, 29 January 2015 (4 stars) (Available to subscribers only)

'Magnus Lindberg is right on the money with his latest work, Accused, given a hugely impressive world premiere by the always exciting London Philharmonic Orchestra last week ... Vladimir Jurowski has once again introduced a major work into the repertoire of his brilliant orchestra, and as the rest of the evening’s music showed, he is the premier programme-planner in London today.'
Stephen Pritchard, The Observer, 1 February 2015 (4 stars)

'Scriabin's The Poem of Ecstasy roused itself to a gloriously all-embracing climax. Altogether an evening of carefree indulgence.'
Richard Fairman, The Financial Times, 31 January 2015 (5 stars)

'Drama after the interval was provided by an exquisitely played Prelude to Act One of Tristan and Isolde, and Scriabin's riotous Poem of Ecstasy that built up to a climax of bells, trumpets, drums, strings and organ.'
Clare Colvin, The Sunday Express, 1 February 2015 (3 stars)

'The opening chord [of Scriabin’s Poem of Ecstasy] was perfectly together and balanced, Jurowski simmering the music’s contemplations, volatility and transcendence ... Jurowski created a different sense of space and delays, convincing in themselves, reaching for the sky and not shirking from orgiastic tumult, the LPO riding high, not least Pieter Schoeman’s seductive violin solos and Paul Beniston’s heroic contributions on trumpet.'
Colin Anderson Classical Review 29 January 2015

Read the concert programme online here

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